Standing at the entrance of a cave

I’m in a bit of a funny place right now. For years because of the chronic pain I’ve felt like I was living life from the sidelines. I felt like the world was going on without me and I was treading water on a daily basis just to function. For a long time I was envious of people who could walk, sit, sleep and stand without thinking about it. Now that I’ve almost fully recovered from hip surgery and from CRPS, I feel like I’m at the sideline and about to rejoin the game of life. It’s a wonderful feeling but its also a little scary. Over the years I’ve lost confidence in myself and I worry more than I used to. This is understandable because I know from experience that bad stuff does happen.

All of this hip malarky happened in one second because of a silly accident at the gym, I remember that moment clearly. I got hospitalised with CRPS twice because of a perfect storm of events. I know that something as minor as going sailing and walking home can trigger the most excruciating chronic pain you can get. Pain worse than unprepared childbirth, cancer and amputation (according to the Mc Gill Pain Index). I know how to avoid another CRPS flare and I am very confident I have the skills to ensure it will never happen again. But fear of CRPS and hip pain is still with me and casts a shadow. As time passes I’m sure that shadow will fade.

I’m very excited to get back to an active life, but I’m more cautious than I used to be because I have a fear of it all happening again. But I can’t live a life in fear, I need to put this behind me and trust that everything will be OK. I’ve moved to London to get away from old associations and make a new life for myself, its not as easy as I expected but it is exciting and full of promise. I’m at the edge of the cave and there is treasure inside, it will be 100% worth facing my fears and working through what I’m feeling.

The cave

This image is from Facebook, source unknown.

A change of pace

I’ve been in London a week now and things have been pretty good. I think the cooler climate has been good for my joints and trading sandals for proper shoes (with orthotics) has made a huge difference to my ankles, knees and hips. I’m in generally in a lot less pain and have been able to stop taking paracetamol (teylenol) regularly. My liver will be pleased! My neck has also improved but that might be due to the better ergonomics of my laptop setup. 

I’ve increased my walking considerably, and while I’ve been sore the hip has coped really well. I’m living in a household with a dog so have been walking at least 60min a day. Yesterday I walked 7km (approx 2hrs) and it’s amazing how different the hip is now that I’m almost 9 months after the surgery. It really does feel like I’m a new person! Before I was in pain all the time, took a lot of medication and was unable to walk for more than 10min without the pain getting unpleasant. 

My fitness is still terrible though and my legs are very weak, but I’m sure that will improve with time. I can feel the muscles in my feet are getting stronger and my inner thighs are doing some work. I’m not 100% sure my biomechanics are quite right so I’ll see a physio this week to fine tune my rehab and help me get back to yoga classes. I’m quite keen to give barre classes a go too , and when I’m feeling more confident in my recovery I’d like to return to the gym. 

Things aren’t perfect though and I’m often reminded of “what was”. I get tired easily and need to sit down to rest fatigued muscles. I was in the supermarket on Friday and the hip got stuck and clicked very painfully for the first time in months. I’m pretty good about not panicking when this happens, but it does make me a little uneasy. But as things continue to improve week by week, I’ll stay positive. I believe having a positive mindset is a key ingredient to a successful recovery.